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They're Here: ASRock Z170 Motherboards

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    Posted: 07 Aug 2015 at 10:10am
TAIPEI, Taiwan, August 5, 2015 ??Intel's 100 Series, otherwise known as Skylake, the successor of Intel's Broadwell chips, not to be confused with Skynet and the end of human civilization, has finally arrived! The spearhead Z170 chipset are the first to make an appearance, while the embargo dates of others are drawing near as well. This year, ASRock continues its three motherboard product lines, the Extreme Series, ASRock Gaming Series and OC Formula Series.



The Extreme Series includes a proud generation of high performance motherboards, specifically tailored for designers and enthusiasts, with Z170 Extreme7+ leading the battalion. This bad boy has four PCIe Gen3 x16 slots that not only support ordinary graphics cards, but also workstation pro graphics cards, such as AMD FirePro cards and Nvidia Quadro cards. Better yet, besides the ten onboard SATA3 ports, it also comes with three SATA Express ports, and another three Ultra M.2 slots that support ASRock's U.2 Kit and Intel® 750 SSDs for a monstrous PCIe SSD RAID 0 array.



Meanwhile, ASRock Gaming Series most top tier model would be Z170 Gaming K6+. Aside from the basic PCIe Gen3 x16 slots for building CrossFireX or SLI configurations, this time the onboard audio solution has evolved into Purity Sound 3 and has unlocked the achievement "General performance: Excellent" on Rightmark, the professional audio testing tool. Another huge highlight would be the world's first and only front USB 3.1 panel, which is free bundled with all models that have a "+" in their name. SATA Express ports have been neglected since the day they arrived on motherboards, but now they've finally found a meaning for existence, and it's for installing ASRock's front USB 3.1 panel to provide a pair of Type-A and Type-C USB 3.1 ports on the front of your chassis.



Finally, Z170 OC Formula. ASRock is still saving the best for the last, so inhale slowly and just imagine a motherboard coated in black and yellow. The board will hold unruly DDR4 DIMM slots that rocket up to over 4000MHz, and there will also be four PCIE Gen3 x16 slots and three additional Ultra M.2 slots for creating a RAID 0. If anyone ever questions you why would you even need a motherboard with such overwhelming performance? Or what applications justify for a PCIe RAID 0 array consisting seven PCIe SSDs? You simply answer, "Because others can't touch this."



For more 100 Series motherboards, head over to:
www.asrock.com

Or visit our YouTube Channel for a taste of Z170 Extreme7+ and PCIe SSD RAID 0:

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najiro View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote najiro Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07 Aug 2015 at 4:11pm
I'm looking at Asrock for my next testbench motherboard. I like the board design and the 2-color theme. Other brands are going overboard on that department in my opinion. My teammate is currently checking out the Z170 Gaming K6+. Review should be up soon. 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Xaltar Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07 Aug 2015 at 6:18pm
Beautiful board designs this time out. Simple, stylish and effective. Great job ASRock, I can't wait to get my hands on one of these Smile
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I want to build a HTPC with Skylake.

Which motherboards will handle HDMI 2.0 and HDCP 2.2 without the use of an external graphics card?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote parsec Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08 Aug 2015 at 1:10am
Originally posted by frankpc frankpc wrote:

I want to build a HTPC with Skylake.

Which motherboards will handle HDMI 2.0 and HDCP 2.2 without the use of an external graphics card?


Good question, both of those factors will depend upon the Intel Graphics supplied with the CPU model you are using. So far Intel is only listing two Skylake 6th Generation processors on their website:

http://ark.intel.com/

The new graphics on those processors, the HD 530 series, is listing HDMI 1.4 in the processor specs. I did not find any detailed specs for the HD 530 graphics on Intel's website yet.

I'm not sure if the mother board will influence the HDMI release level support, I don't see that spec in the few Z170 boards I checked.

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Originally posted by parsec parsec wrote:

Originally posted by frankpc frankpc wrote:

I want to build a HTPC with Skylake.

Which motherboards will handle HDMI 2.0 and HDCP 2.2 without the use of an external graphics card?


Good question, both of those factors will depend upon the Intel Graphics supplied with the CPU model you are using. So far Intel is only listing two Skylake 6th Generation processors on their website:

http://ark.intel.com/

The new graphics on those processors, the HD 530 series, is listing HDMI 1.4 in the processor specs. I did not find any detailed specs for the HD 530 graphics on Intel's website yet.

I'm not sure if the mother board will influence the HDMI release level support, I don't see that spec in the few Z170 boards I checked.


Thank you!

What I 'think' I know so far is that all Skylake processors only have HDMI 1.4.  But MegaChips sells a chip or firmware called LSPCON MCDP2800.  That device converts the Skylake's DP to HDMI 2.0 with HDCP 2.2.  So it is up to the MB Manufacturer to pay for the MegaChip license.  So far, I have only found one manufacturer to spec that arrangement on two of their MB's.  

I have two ASrock MB's now and they have served me well.  So I really wanted to continue the tradition.

EDIT:  BTW, I've read that the ASRock Z170 Pro4s: "Supports HDCP with DVI-D and HDMI Ports".  But the version of HDCP is not specified, nor is the version of HDMI.  But that does sound encouraging.


Edited by frankpc - 08 Aug 2015 at 3:05am
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote parsec Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08 Aug 2015 at 2:05pm
I was wondering why you were interested in HDCP 2.2, but a quick search provided the answer.

I grabbed the following from one of the explanations of HDCP 2.2 I found, which sums it up well:

In order to watch copy-protected Ultra HD content--be it on a disc, a download, or via an over-the-top stream?”you?™ll need HDCP 2.2 compatible devices at every link in the signal chain.

To support HDCP 2.2, the HDMI IO must be HDMI 2.0 compliant. Note that simply supporting HDMI 2.0 does not automatically mean that HDCP 2.2 is also supported by the device.

Which means the so-called 4K video capable sources in PCs we have now will not be able to play back 4K media, once it is released. Even the TV or monitor must support HDCP 2.2 or it will not display a 4K signal with HDCP 2.2. I wonder how many current 4K PC monitors have HDMI 2.0 inputs, and HDCP 2.2 capability?

4K Ultra HD video is still being sorted out, the first compatible DVD players may be available in late 2015. While support for it with HDMI 2.0 and HDCP 2.2 would be great, IMO it's still a little early to be expecting it in PC hardware.

I have a simple test that can be applied to any type of new standards for video, audio, or new PC related devices and or standards, to determine if they are supported or included in any new product release that might have that support.

Just check the marketing materials for the new product. If the new standard or feature is not proudly announced in large, colorful text and pictures, with descriptions telling us how great it is, then the new standard or feature is not included in that product.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote frankpc Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08 Aug 2015 at 8:38pm
Originally posted by parsec parsec wrote:

I was wondering why you were interested in HDCP 2.2, but a quick search provided the answer.

Just check the marketing materials for the new product. If the new standard or feature is not proudly announced in large, colorful text and pictures, with descriptions telling us how great it is, then the new standard or feature is not included in that product.

Thank you!  I appreciate your interest.  My Sony '940c' TV, and Denon '7200wa' AVR are or will be compliant with HDMI 2.0 and HDCP 2.2.  This means if they aren't compliant now, a firmware upgrade is forthcoming in the fall. 

The GTX-960 is also HDMI 2.0 and HDCP 2.2 compliant.  I had one for two weeks and it worked great, of course I had no way to test for HDCP 2.2.  But I could watch the full 4K demo clips via the AVR and TV.  

However, I returned the 'open box' GTX-960 in anticipation of purchasing a Z170 MB that meets those requirements.  Now I just need to find the most economical way to do so.  But to do so has proven difficult because the information is so sparse.

I agree with you.  It is early to be concerned with those requirements.  However, the equipment does exist.  It just has to be found.  And perhaps a HTPC built today might stay current for a couple of years. (??)  The ASRock 'Z170 Pro4s' is shown to support HDCP with DVI-D and HDMI Ports.  But the versions are not specified.  Getting closer...

Thanks again 


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Punk Sods Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08 Aug 2015 at 9:02pm
Great!

However, the Z170 OCF is available until August 12th, here in Germany . I know some people who have already pre-ordered. Smile


greeting

Heinrich
My Z77 OCF, Z97 OCF, X99 OCF Threads @ HardwareLUXX
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote frankpc Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08 Aug 2015 at 9:21pm
Originally posted by Punk Sods Punk Sods wrote:

Great!

However, the Z170 OCF is available until August 12th, here in Germany . I know some people who have already pre-ordered. Smile

greeting

Heinrich

Nice looking MB Heinrich!  Specs state:  "Supports HDCP with HDMI and DisplayPort 1.2 Ports".  But no indication of the versions.  Not stating the version numbers probably means they are not the most recent.
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